What to expect
By about six or seven years, your child will probably:
- want to talk to you, to friends and to other family as much as possible
- like to tell jokes and riddles
- be able to talk confidently with grown-ups
- be able to describe complicated situations
- express a range of ideas
- read aloud
- have an increased vocabulary
- be able to use the telephone.
By seven or eight, your child will be able to explain thoughts and ideas, join in conversations, and tell detailed stories about daily events.
Communicating with your child
Your school-age child might not always talk about any troubles at school or with friends. School children might need your help to open up and share any concerns.
One way to do this is to ask your child open-ended questions, such as, ‘What did you enjoy about school today?’ These questions encourage more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, and can help your child to raise tricky topics.
School-age children can sometimes have so much news to share that they stumble over words and get frustrated. Your child will get the words out eventually. If you keep listening patiently, children will learn that what they have to say is important.
Play ideas to encourage talking
Research shows that your child’s language will benefit greatly if you take the time to listen and chat together.
To encourage talking and vocabulary expansion, you can:
- talk to each other
- sing songs together
- use story/song tapes or CDs in the car
- tell jokes and riddles.
All children develop at their own rate. If you have any concerns about your child’s speech – for example, a stutter or the mispronunciation of certain letters at seven or eight – it might be a good idea to see a health professional.